• Good wildlife management and good forest management often go hand in hand. Through the Forest Stewardship Program, Texas A&M Forest Service offers guidance to help landowners improve habitats for various wildlife species on their property. 

    The first step is to discuss the goals you have for your property with a TFS Forester or a professional land management service provider. Wildlife-related forest management information sheets are available for game and non-game species-specific management.

     Consider the following practices on managing for specific species:


     + Streamside Management Zones

    Streamside Management Zones (PDF, 144KB), also called forest buffers, green strips or riparian zones, are forested areas adjacent to streams that are managed with specific attention to water resource protection. SMZs not only help protect water quality, but also provide excellent habitat and travel corridors for many wildlife species. Texas Forestry Best Management Practices (PDF,591KB) recommend a minimum width of 50 feet on both sides of intermittent and perennial streams, though if you are interested in wildlife management, you may consider extending this width to increase wildlife use.

     + Windbreaks

    Windbreaks are trees and shrubs systematically planted adjacent to fields, homesteads or feedlots as a barrier to reduce or redirect the wind. Windbreaks enhance aesthetics, increase land value, reduce soil erosion, protect buildings and equipment and establish wildlife habitat; and provide food and cover for wildlife. The TFS West Texas Nursery grows seedlings that are well-suited for use in wildlife and windbreak plantings.



     + Supplemental Food Plots

    Supplemental food plots are land areas where locally adapted annual and perennial plants are established for wildlife. These areas provide a highly nutritious food source and shelter during critical periods of the year, such as the dry summer months when plant growth slows. High protein supplemental forage is especially important for white-tail deer management.


    The shape, size, location and percentage of the total land area of the plot being considered should be based on the requirements of the type of wildlife you would like to accommodate. If you are interested in wildlife management, you should plant at least 1 percent of your property in winter and summer food plots. Planting a variety of forage and excluding livestock from your supplemental food plots are great ways to help ensure plant survival. 


    Fertilizer can greatly improve forage quality in preferred plants such as honeysuckle, greenbriar and blackberry. Fertilized plants remain favorable and have higher nutrient levels longer into the summer than surrounding vegetation. Applying a balanced fertilizer in the spring and then ammonium nitrate or a high nitrogen fertilizer at 60-day intervals during the growing season often yields the best results. 


    The Natural Resources Conservation Service, Texas Agrilife Extension, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and local seed dealers can provide guidance on food plot mixtures suitable for your area, as well as local conditions. A soil test should be conducted prior to planting.


    Wildlife Planting Guide (PDF, 227KB)


     + Texas Wildscapes

    Texas Wildscapes is a habitat restoration and conservation plan for rural and urban areas. Landowners, homeowners and other Texas residents are able to support wildlife conservation by developing wildlife habitats where they live, work and play. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is an excellent source of information on wildlife management.